Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me extend my sympathies and condolences as well in respect to Mr. Brown. I grew up in Leeds-Grenville, so had a chance to meet Mr. Brown, and I know the riding well. The riding loses a great representative.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. As noted, my name's Timothy Egan and I'm president of the Canadian Gas Association. With me today is Paul Cheliak, my vice-president of government and regulatory affairs. I have some prepared remarks that I'll read and then I'll be happy to take any questions.
The CGA is the voice of Canada's natural gas delivery industry. Our members are distribution and transmission companies, equipment and materials manufacturers and suppliers, and other service providers. Our product and our delivery system together offer an incredibly cost-effective means to deliver on key objectives on infrastructure, innovation, environmental performance, on the north, on transportation, emissions reductions, and more.
Today in Canada natural gas has a central place in our country's energy mix, meeting 36% of our energy needs. This means it's fulfilling more demand than any other energy form in Canada, more than electricity, gasoline, diesel, etc. Today over 20 million Canadians rely on and benefit from affordable, clean, safe, and reliable natural gas.
I want to speak to the benefits of national energy data and to highlight the users, their needs, and whether their needs are being met today. I also want to note some gaps in current energy data availability and to offer CGA's recommendations on the best practices for managing data going forward.
By way of context, CGA is itself a primary source and user of energy data. As a result of the wide use of natural gas, our member companies, the distribution entities across the country, have access to a vast network of important data and information related to energy end use across Canada. Currently, a substantial amount of this crucial data and information is collected by public institutions, including provincial and federal government agencies and energy regulators. In addition, industry associations like ours and our colleagues, the CEA, private companies, think tanks, and other non-governmental organizations are also collection points and providers of energy data and information.
CGA believes Canada, as a significant producer and consumer of energy, needs to have ready access to the highest-quality energy data that is available to all stakeholders. It's also necessary for the data to be accurate, impartial, and transparent. Particularly during this time when Canada is considering its strategic energy future, as well as its greenhouse gas reduction goals, this access to energy data is essential to ensure that Canadians' energy system is reliable, affordable, and resilient.
On the surface, the basic energy data and information needs seem simple enough. We need to measure and report a comprehensive set that can allow us all to understand the full energy value chain of energy resource extraction and/or production, energy product refining, shipping and transmission, and distribution and consumption. At each point along the energy value chain, we need to know some basic information. We need to know how much is produced, moved, or used; at what initial investment or costs; at what delivered price for the final consumer or energy user; and with what environmental impacts, such as emissions or waste, or life-cycle impacts.
The goal must be to eliminate any informational asymmetries and unnecessary confidentialities so as to allow all stakeholders to see, know, and understand Canada's energy circumstance. Once we have a common set of Canadian energy data and information as a reference point, we will be able to have the foundation we need to analyze, forecast, discuss, and properly debate key issues, and to develop a shared understanding of the entire dimension of what energy is and means to Canada.
However, right now Canada lacks that common point. The Canadian Gas Association believes that all Canadians need to have ready access to the highest-quality data and analysis via a single window energy data management capacity. In addition to a lack of some very basic energy data, there's the additional challenge that the disjointed nature of the current collection and reporting in Canada leads, in cases, to issues with data timeliness, quality, and accuracy. One simple example is the lack of any official public sector count of how many customers use natural gas. Statistics Canada doesn't report that number any longer. Natural Resources Canada has an estimated value, but its only via our organization, the CGA, that we collect this information. So, despite its being the most-used energy form in Canada, we have no shared understanding of how many homes, businesses, and industrial facilities are using our product.
Similar data and information gaps prevent a reliable and meaningful common understanding of how to better manage our energy policies, our energy development, and our energy use. Further, in many ways they prevent Canadian energy literacy and the opportunity for self-learning on energy.
The coordination of Canadian energy data collection and management is critical for Canadian energy decision-making and for public understanding. The U.S. has its Energy Information Agency, a source used by governments and industry around the world, and globally there exists the International Energy Agency. Both are highly regarded and in fact essential sources, but there is nothing comparable in Canada at present.
A single coordinated capacity focused on the complete and comprehensive provision of energy data and information would add numerous benefits, including ensuring the complete and efficient collection of all the necessary data and information; ensuring the highest level of quality assurance, accuracy, and data confidence; ensuring the quick identification and elimination of data and information gaps; ensuring a comprehensive, fully integrated, and internally consistent data resource; providing single, easy, open access to all Canadians of available energy data; providing tools for energy data analysis and a forum for related studies; and providing an independent source of data and analysis, free from any special interests.
In short, a Canadian energy data management capacity would allow Canadians to stop debating what the data is, and instead focus on what the data and information are telling us about how best to address some of the critical issues facing Canadians, our economy, and society as a whole.
In closing we offer three specific recommendations. One, that the Government of Canada work with the provinces to create an independent, one-stop capacity, to be the authoritative repository and conveyer of all energy data and information in the country. I note the aspect of working with the provinces here, given their significant constitutional authority over energy. This needs to be respected, and any energy data management needs to be done in a coordinated fashion with them.
Two, that the information and data this source collects needs to be available on an open data platform to all who choose to use and consult it.
Three, we need to strive for continual improvements in data timeliness, accuracy, and completeness.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your time.
I thank the committee for having invited the Canadian Electricity Association to appear before you to discuss this important study on the current and future situation of national energy data in Canada.
I am pleased to be joined by Patrick Brown from Hydro Ottawa. Patrick is the manager of regulatory policy and research.
CEA is the national forum and voice of the electricity business in Canada. CEA membership is comprised of generation, transmission and distribution companies from across the country.
At over 80% GHG emissions-free and growing, the Canadian electricity sector stands ready to help fuel the transition towards a clean growth economy with the electrification of other sectors. Access to reliable and accurate energy information—information that is available in user friendly formats to the public, policy makers and industry—will be important in this transition.
Today I'll highlight some of the gaps in Canada's current national energy data collection system and propose a path forward: the creation of a Canadian energy information agency.
First, in terms of gaps, our current energy data collection system is complex, fragmented, and inefficient. Provincial, territorial, and federal levels of government all collect energy data.
On the federal side, complexity is exacerbated by the numerous departments and agencies responsible for producing energy information. Statistics Canada, the National Energy Board, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, just to name a few, are all involved in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of energy data.
This has led to overlapping information requests and analysis with varying standards, definitions, concepts and timeframes, which can result in inconsistent data. It creates challenges for stakeholders utilizing national energy data. We thus recommend a coherent harmonization of energy data that would reduce confusion for the end user while at the same time improving the efficiency of collection.
In short, we need a one-stop shop.
Second, why is a streamlined, efficient, and effective data collection system in the national interest? I see two primary benefits. First, it could help improve both public and private decision-making; second, it will help promote public energy literacy.
Regarding the former, electric utilities use national energy data to inform everything from system planning to public information campaigns. Similarly, NGOs use energy data to keep track of our progress and to inform their recommendations to both government and the public. All levels of decision-makers, including international agencies and our North American counterparts, also use national energy information to guide policy-making.
Third, on the importance of energy literacy, an informed and educated public that grasps energy concepts and trends will be indispensable in our path towards a “clean growth” future. While efficient and effective data collection in itself will not guarantee energy literacy among citizens, it will provide the solid foundation from which to build. In being provided with access to coherent, credible, and independent information that represents both sides of policy issues in an easily accessible format, the Canadian public will be better placed to participate in our national energy conversation.
Fourth, Canada should look to its counterparts and learn from international best practices in national data collection.
Currently, the United States has an Energy Information Administration, the EIA, which collects, analyzes and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policy-making and greater public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.
The EIA is independent of government and does not have to seek approval from any government office to collect, analyze, report or publish its findings. This model has done well and contributed to an increased understanding of energy issues in the U.S. The EIA pools together coherent and consistent energy data, standardizes definitions and collection methodologies, and has made it easier to report data.
Lastly, Canada should therefore create an energy information agency of its own.
CEA has long been advocating for the creation of an independent, non-partisan Canadian energy information agency. Recently, we reiterated this in our 2018 pre-budget submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance.
Indeed, CEA is not alone in this. Recommendation 1.3.1 of the report of the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board also pushed for it. At the Generation Energy Forum last year, Canadians also expressed the need for improved institutional structures and recommended establishing a data and modelling centre.
A CEIA would have as its sole purpose the collection, analysis, and distribution of energy information, ideally via regular public reports. The agency should consist of partnerships and information-sharing agreements between the federal and provincial and territorial governments, utilizing Statistics Canada for primary-source energy data or perhaps adopting this function itself.
The development of the CEIA should be guided by the following principles, namely, that we should facilitate the establishment of common definitions; ensure that appropriate safeguards and measures are in place to protect the sensitivity and confidentiality of data submitted by energy companies and other organizations; ease administrative burden by eliminating obligations to report the same data to different agencies; seek to ensure synergies with achievement of public policy objectives related to GHG reduction, climate change, and environmental protection; and finally, acknowledge the benefits associated with improved collection and dissemination of energy-related data from an economic-growth and investment-protection standpoint.
I would now like to invite my colleague from Hydro Ottawa to share a few thoughts on this topic from the perspective of a utility company.
Hydro Ottawa appreciates the opportunity to participate today.
As you may know, Hydro Ottawa is the local distribution company here in our nation's capital. In addition to that core business activity, Hydro Ottawa also has a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets, including the Chaudière Falls hydroelectric station, located not too far from this building, as well as a growing portfolio of energy services.
To support our diverse business interests, we need high-quality information and take seriously the imperative to ensure that our customers and the general public as well have access to such information.
Regarding the proposal for establishing a Canadian energy information agency, Hydro Ottawa believes that the idea has merit and wishes to echo the principal recommendations that were just outlined by Francis.
With respect to how a diverse energy company like us would see this type of agency adding value and improving upon the status quo, we would offer the following thoughts.
We have experienced, and continue to experience, challenges with existing reporting requirements and processes that are in place with certain federal agencies.
We believe the public interest would be well served, especially in relation to energy literacy goals, by the establishment of an agency that is independent from government and has an exclusive mandate to collect, analyze, and disseminate energy information.
Finally, we do see a need for a broader range of federal government data products and services on a wide range of energy-related topics, especially in relation to renewable energy and electricity in general. Particular examples include developments and trends around electrification, electric vehicles, distributed energy resources, and electricity pricing.
With that, I will hand it back over to Francis.
If I may, I will respond in English.
I highlighted the provinces, given how much energy data collection they do on their own. As for what the federal government can do independently of that, as Mr. Bradley highlighted, a series of federal agencies currently collect data, and I think there is an opportunity to assess what data is coming from each of those agencies and the best way to coordinate that data collection from each of them.
I share the concern that what could happen here is that we create a new federal body that just duplicates the existing data collection capacities. That's another reason to make sure that we have the provinces in the conversation, because I think this entity needs to be independent of any one government. I think that's critically important.
We rely on several different federal departments and agencies for data in a variety of ways right now, but we also call on the provinces very regularly with respect to data collection. The economic regulators that I noted are those that oversee the activities of each of our members. The régie in Quebec oversees the activities of Énergir and Gazifère and their counterparts across the country. There's data in each of these points, and it needs to be brought together in a coordinated fashion.
My recommendation would be that the energy and mines ministers who meet every year, including this year in Iqaluit, make this a priority item for their agenda. In spite of experiencing political challenges at times, they've had great success in identifying specific initiatives to co-operate on, and they have a mechanism in place for such co-operation. I think they could lead on our response to this, and the independent entity that comes out of this could come from them.
The other thing I'll note is that I highlight capacity instead of agency, because we have to think about how we're using technology. The reality is that this data is online. It can be made accessible on the cloud, and there are ways to coordinate this that are cost-effective and respect the jurisdictional differences.
We have common members.
Both of us represent industries that are regulated monopolies, so competition between my members and, if I might be so bold as to say, competition between Mr. Bradley's members doesn't occur, because they are regulated monopolies. However, we do in fact compete with each other, and we do compete with other energy sources for the provision of energy services.
We care a lot about competition. We're very concerned about competition. The issue here is not about, does creating an energy data management capacity mean you're going to be obliged to share your strategic plans about how to grow your customer base. No, I don't think so. Does it mean you're going to share details on who your customers are, what their rates of growth and energy consumption are, and where they're going? I don't think so.
I think what it really means is, as I noted, what's our resource base? Is there a single, comprehensive, transparent assessment of what our resource base is in the country? Is that widely available? What are our current rates of production from that resource base? What are our current rates of consumption from that resource base? I think there's a line, and I don't mean to suggest that it's not a line that our members care a lot about in terms of competition. I think you can talk about whether there is a level playing field of information that can be available to all so that we can then all pursue our competitive interests.
I would also argue that having that level playing field of information is important for you as decision-makers, in order to create the most effective policy framework. When we don't have an effective policy framework, it's that much more difficult for us to compete as well.
Good morning, members of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today to provide testimony on the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
I believe strongly in the value of relevant and credible national energy information in developing national and international energy policies. I am proud that the EIA plays a significant role in providing that kind of information. EIA is the statistical and analytical agency in the U.S. Department of Energy. It was created by federal statute in the late 1970s with a mission to collect, analyze, and disseminate independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policy-making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.
EIA is the primary source within the U.S. federal government of energy information and, as firmly established within the law that created EIA, its data, analyses and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the United States government. The EIA is headed by an administrator who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The administrator is the only political appointee at EIA, and the EIA's independence is vested directly in her. Every nominee for the position of administrator has been asked during the confirmation process in the U.S. Senate to commit to upholding EIA's independence, regardless of the party of the President or the leadership of the Congress.
My statement will provide an overview of EIA's stakeholders, organizational structure, and data collection and analysis. A wide range of stakeholders makes use of EIA's energy data and projections, which we generally make available through our website, www.eia.gov. Our 2017 web survey found that most active users of the website included interested business and industry, private citizens, and consultants and researchers, who together made up two-thirds of EIA's website customers. Other important users identified themselves in the areas of education, finance, energy, and government.
EIA data and analyses meet many of the diverse needs of our stakeholders. For example, business, industry, and financial professionals require good information about production, consumption, and prices to develop their own strategies and processes. Policy makers and interested private citizens need contextual information about energy activities and markets, and the opportunity to examine trends that affect their lives. Even consultants and media who are in business to produce their own energy data analysis need some of the statistics we produce to provide context and benchmarking for their work.
In fact, although media made up only 2% of our web users, it represents another important channel for disseminating EIA analysis and statistics. Many of our reports, data updates, and forecasts are actively used by trade and public press. By focusing both on statistics and their interpretation in the service of providing context about energy, EIA's work is accessible by a wide range of users, and consequently helps inform a wide variety of interested stakeholders.
EIA is organized to develop and integrate its statistics and forecasting into useful information, disseminate that information effectively to interested stakeholders, and manage its internal operations. To do that, EIA is organized into four offices. The two largest, the office of energy statistics and the office of energy analysis, focus on developing statistics and forecasts respectively, and on developing interpretation and analysis of their implications together. The office of communications focuses on the dissemination of our products, and the office of resource and technology management manages the budget, procurement, and technology.
I'd like to describe our approach to statistics, forecasting, and analysis in a little more detail.
As an official government statistical agency, EIA is dedicated to producing objective energy data that are relevant to market and policy questions. That means maintaining a strong commitment to the principles of official statistics as interpreted in the United States and as applied to all federal statistical agencies. The significant components of these principles include producing relevant, objective data; establishing and protecting credibility with data users; maintaining trust with data providers; and clearly operating outside political influence.
EIA has developed its statistical program in the context of U.S. law, with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget implementing standards and guidelines, and EIA implementing these standards and guidelines independently.
Maintaining effective and efficient management systems is an important component of EIA's statistical systems. We have developed a view of a statistical life cycle for identifying important information, developing efficient strategies to provide useful information, disseminating that information, and evaluating the results.
Our approach has been heavily influenced by international practices, and we've made good use of what we've learned from Statistics Canada, from the UN Oslo group work, and the International Energy Agency, among others in developing our life cycle.
In recent years this has led to increased use of third-party data sources, including administrative data, close-to-real-time business operating information, and crowd-sourced data, to bring vital energy context and information to our stakeholders. The role of official government statistics is often to provide timely and accurate information that is difficult to get.
For example, in the past few years EIA determined that it needed to introduce a monthly oil production survey to keep up with recent U.S. oil production growth. Prior to the EIA survey, oil production information had been estimated from state data. When the new survey was released, issues with some of the previously used administrative data became clear, and everyone's understanding of oil production in the United States improved significantly.
In total, EIA produces approximately 57 surveys and other data collections, with regular and irregular cycles ranging from one hour to four years. They cover a varied landscape of energy facilities, types, and uses. Often, these parts of the overall energy landscape don't seem to have much relation to one another, but we find that a working understanding of the pieces that make up energy in the United States and a focus on how they fit together brings genuine insight into our work, making all the parts work better.
Another important dimension to EIA's collection of energy data is our effort to look all along the value chain. This is evident from our weekly petroleum stocks report on Wednesday mornings and our natural gas storage report on Thursday mornings, which are known for routinely moving their respective financial markets.
The EIA's consumption surveys, which are among the most difficult and expensive and least regular, are acknowledged to provide information about energy consumption for industry, residential, and commercial sectors that is virtually unmatched in the world and invaluable in understanding those sectors' energy use.
The changes in commercial and residential consumption patterns in just the last decade are notable. The rapid expansion of distributed, off-grid solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and residential customers is changing utility planning in some areas.
In addition to energy statistics, EIA prepares a short-term domestic energy outlook examining monthly trends over the next one or two years and a domestic and international energy outlook with annual projections over the next 20 to 25 years. Also, when requested by congressional committees or the administration, EIA develops forecast analyses around other energy issues.
EIA derives tremendous value from both operating as a statistical agency and having a mission for forecasting analysis. Each side benefits. EIA forecasting has access to well-organized detailed statistics about U.S. energy activity, often having had input to the survey design.
EIA's reference case analyses and outlooks are developed using current laws and policies. This provides a common framework against which policy changes may be transparently assessed through sensitivity cases, using methodologies that are accessible and well documented for EIA stakeholders.
EIA statistics benefit from being combined with forecasting analysis as well. Our forecasters are deeply engaged in trying to understand energy activity. As a consequence, their identification of information needs tends to be closer to the cutting edge of new issues. That kind of feedback is invaluable in planning a relevant energy information program.
EIA's place as the recognized source for U.S. energy information over its more than four decades of existence arises directly from the intersection of statistics, analysis, and independence in its mission and operation. The legislation that created EIA enables it to propose what data is needed to serve its missions to perform analysis that policymakers and markets rely on and to solicit stakeholders' views while maintaining its independence.
Combining statistics and analysis in one governmental organization has worked well for the United States. As you consider a framework for providing Canadian government energy information, I would urge you to consider our experience with that combination and the value it has added for us in our work.
I'm happy to answer any of your questions.
Good afternoon from Paris, and thank you very much for the invitation to provide some input for you. I'm Duncan Millard, the chief statistician at the International Energy Agency, and former chief statistician of the Department of Energy & Climate Change in the U.K.
I hope to bring some international and national experience to try to answer, firstly, the five questions you've asked me, and then, obviously, to contribute to any follow-up questions.
To start, one of the points was about the benefits of energy statistics and I think they need to be very clear to everybody. These days, energy underpins all social and economic activity. Therefore, the need for energy security, the need to understand energy, and the need to properly understand where energy comes from for businesses, investors, and the public are all very clear.
The need for energy data is also expanding. Maybe some time ago we were just looking at energy security and perhaps production, but now, increasingly, we're looking at the growth of renewables, energy efficiency, prices, and investment. This is perhaps particularly so in a country such as Canada where the data we discovered shows that energy relates to about 7% of GDP and about 18% of exports; and for consumers, energy and transport spending is around 6% of total household expenditure. So energy is very important there.
Energy is also very important for Canada in the international context. Again, using our global data, we can see that Canada is the second-largest producer of hydro, fourth-largest producer of crude oil, fourth-largest gas producer, sixth-largest nuclear producer, and seventh-largest wind producer. It's very clear that energy is very important to Canada and all Canadians.
The next question was about meeting user needs. It's very clear that the users have a variety of needs, but they also have a variety of needs to get the data. There will need to be different dissemination strategies used, and we're discovering an increasing use of social media as a means of getting information to consumers.
Overall, with energy information, you can think of the energy balance as being the fundamental framework for it, bringing together the production, transformation, and final use of all energy types in a framework where the interactions between them all can be understood and data quality can be improved through an energy balance.
Linked to that, this data is supported by information on energy prices, RD and D, and also bespoke policy monitoring, and it's worthwhile just saying a little thing about the role of the statisticians in policy-making.
If you think about a normal policy development cycle, you can think about the step of understanding the need for a policy, and one of the questions might be, is there a policy gap or is there an information gap? You can think of the development of policy and starting to appraise ideas in terms of how the outcomes of a policy might be monitored, and what the baseline is for moving that data forward. You can think about preparing for delivery and the potential need to undertake a pilot of the policies and put in place the policy and monitoring framework. Then, of course, there is the final stage, during and after the policy is running, the need to monitor and evaluate the policy. Thus, a very important question is the extent to which statisticians and energy data are being used effectively in policy-making.
The next question raised was around gaps in energy data. Of course, I'm not in the position to answer a question on gaps from the perspective of the Canadian government or the Canadian people, but perhaps I can make a few reflections from the point of view of the IEA.
We've been working very closely with colleagues in Statistics Canada and NRCan for many years to try to improve data, and we're very grateful for their continuing support in working with us. We do note potentially two larger issues, firstly around timeliness. Our deadline for data is September, and often our colleagues in Canada are not able to meet that. Other countries aren't either, but we just note that. I don't know if that's the same issue in relation to information for Canadians.
There's also the issue that I'm sure you're all very familiar with about confidentiality, where data exists but ultimately it has to be estimated because of statistics laws that are in place.
There are a number of other issues. There are some issues around data weaknesses where we notice specific issues about our electricity supply and demand, or notice a growth in distribution losses. Again, if that is a genuine trend, it's a policy area that might need to be addressed.
There are potentially some survey gaps. Most notably, a concern for us would be the non-reporting in some aspects of the oil industry. There are also some issues about comprehensiveness of data. One small example here would be that we're not currently able to get a breakdown of the combustible fuels used for electricity generation on a monthly basis.
We also know that going forward there's an increasing need for data. If I look globally at what the needs are—and I'm sure they also apply to Canada—there's an increasing need for energy-induced data, for understanding how and why energy is being used and not just that it is being used; there are the challenges of off-grid generation and of energy consumers increasingly being producers of electricity; but there are also opportunities around open data and digitalization.
Then there's thinking about some best practices for data systems. A very clear point to emphasize here is that we deal with many countries with many different models, and there is no one best-fit model, but there are some common features that feature in the ones that are the most effective.
It's perhaps first worth thinking about the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, a very good document endorsed by the UN, which also talks about the need for data and the importance of the independence of statistical functions in terms of methodology and dissemination, but also about the need for coordination across ministries and other organizations to achieve the best practice data.
We note that generally data systems that are good are focused, they collect only the data needed, they maximize the use of that data so that it's collected once and used often, they use administrative data where available, they have a proper legal basis not only covering reporting and dissemination to an agreed timetable but a published legal basis so that everybody can understand. There are resources there—statistical work can cost money, and these are properly resourced. Also we see that they are ones that review their methodology. Statistical methodology and approach has to change as the market changes: surveys need to be reviewed, and the best ones will continuously do that.
Systems that work along those principles are generally able to meet the data needs of the users, and user feedback is of course very important.
I'll offer perhaps just a couple of words on sharing data across government. This is an area we work on with many countries, and it is seen as an important area. Canadians perhaps are like many citizens of the world and would view government as a single entity. They may appreciate, of course, the difference between the provincial government and the national government, but to many citizens, from what we understand, government is one organization. There's a certain understanding, though, that maybe there should be decent co-operation among government departments and ministries.
Of course, some data needs stronger protection. Tax and health data are two examples of this. There are, however, many examples in which data can be shared either at an aggregate level or an anonymized record level and can thereby really boost the understanding and the ability to produce more comprehensive energy data. Such systems often require memoranda of understanding between ministries to achieve this, but generally those that use them achieve a reduced burden on business and a reduced burden on households to comply with data.
Finally, I was asked to make some recommendations or offer some thoughts. I should start with a very important point. Globally, Canada has a very strong reputation for overall statistics. We're also very keen to see visibly—visibly to us—the strong co-operation that we see between the various parties.
If I think, however, from where we are and from our understanding of the data, about some of the issues that could be coming forward and therefore some of the recommendations we might propose, it's first to understand the user needs—what data are needed at the national, provincial, and federal levels—and then how to assess the data availability from all sources, including administrative data, and then to do a data map of the way the data meets the users: are there any gaps in the data, or are there areas of duplication?
Then, you need to think about the clear responsibility of who is doing what. That clarity is very important. It should again help avoid any duplication, or help identify the gaps. It's often the case that some sort of governance structure across senior representatives of the ministries or agencies involved can be helpful in bringing everybody together. In the Canadian situation, it would likely include the provinces as well.
Our stress would be to focus on improvements in data rather than the structures of organizations. We would like to think of all parties involved as being part of an “energy statistics Canada”, with everybody involved in the production of data to meet the users' needs across Canada and internationally.
Naturally, we in the IEA are very happy to continue to provide support, technical advice, and any other assistance that would be of use to Canada in helping you improve the energy data you have.
I hope that was helpful. I'm delighted to answer questions.